Tuesday, December 13, 2016

"The French Impressionist" by Rebecca Bischoff

The French Impressionist
by Rebecca Bischoff

The French Impressionist by Rebecca Bischoff is currently on tour with Xpresso Book Tours. The tour stops here today for my review, an excerpt, and a giveaway. Please be sure to visit the other tour stops as well.

Rosemary is fifteen and gloriously free, on her own for the very first time. Part of an exchange program for aspiring artists, she arrives in sunny southern France with a single goal: she doesn’t plan to leave, ever. She wants a new life, a new family, and a new identity. But her situation, crafted from lies big and small, is precarious.
Desperate to escape haunting images from her past and a stage one helicopter parent, Rosemary struggles to hide her lack of artistic talent and a communication disorder that has tormented her all her life. She believes her dream of a new start will come true, until she unwittingly finds herself enveloped in a decades-old mystery that threatens to ruin her only chance for success. Determined to stay, Rosemary must choose whether or not she’ll tell the biggest lie of all, even if it means destroying the life of someone she cares about.
Dramatic, heartwarming, and full of teenage angst, The French Impressionist perfectly captures the struggle of those who feel they have no voice, and also shows the courage it takes to speak up and show the world who we really are.

Book Video

My scalp still aches where Thomas yanked on my braid. I rub my head as I walk home on shaky legs, afraid I’m going to meet his ugly face every time I turn the corner. He lives upstairs from me. What am I going to do? My brain buzzes with so many confusing thoughts I hardly see where I’m going. I collapse onto a bench and stare at discarded candy wrappers and bits of newspaper and string that litter the gutter. I add my pastry to the pile. And then, I let my hopes hurtle toward the ground.
I can’t do this. Why did I think it was a good idea to come here to France? I can’t just pick up and move to another country to ditch my mother and my old life. I’m fifteen, not twenty! How stupid was I to think this had even the slightest chance of working?
I sit and watch people walk by. Most of them talk on cell phones or chatter in small groups. It’s so, so easy for everyone. Everyone but me.
After a minute or two, I take a deep breath and grimace. The air around here stinks. It’s like a thousand skunks paraded by and sprayed in unison. When I turn around I discover the source of the stench. I’ve been sitting in front of a beauty salon, and somebody got a perm.
The perm victim is an elderly woman who sits and reads while she waits for the chemicals to fry her hair. Neat rows of tiny pink curlers cover her head. A tall girl, the stylist, sweeps up a pile of dark hair from the floor. I imagine my own hair floating downward until the tiles below are covered with a scattering of black fuzz that piles up higher and higher.
My phone beeps. I get a text.
Hey, sweetie. U there?
I no longer see the scene in front of me. Only myself, silent and staring into the spotted bathroom mirror. Mom is behind me, combing, fussing, yanking, curling, braiding. Adding ribbons or tiny bows with polka dots. Adding flowers. She did my hair every morning, right up until the day I left.
I’m fifteen, not five.
I have to do this. I won’t ever go back to my old life.
Hashtag Mama’s girl is gone.
The handle of the salon door feels cool to my fingers. My heart speeds up. I enter and find myself smiling at the stylist. She has an eyebrow ring and pink streaks in her hair. She smiles back. Maybe I can’t manage my mangled words, but I know how to point to pictures in magazines.
“Rosie! Your hair!” Sylvie gasps when I walk through the front door.
It’s nearly gone. Yes, it is. I run my fingers through my gloriously short hair and grin, feeling weightless, like a cork floating in the ocean. Feeling free.
[Want more? Click below to read a longer excerpt.]

Praise for the Book
"A deeply unsettling portrait of love, psychological abuse, and the hell of good intentions." ~ Kirkus Reviews
"... an entertaining read with great glimpses into France's way of life." ~ GD
"The writing is great and the story is quite vivid - great read for a day at the beach!" ~ Melissa Robles
"Rosemary is spunky and determined, in spite of her challenges. Rebecca Bischoff paints a vivid setting, and brings her characters to life." ~ Spring

My Review

By Lynda Dickson
In order to escape from her controlling mother, Rosemary lies to her, invents a fake art camp in Arizona, and travels to Nice for a summer art exchange program. The truth is she doesn't even know how to hold a paintbrush. While her mother's boyfriend, Zander, helps Rosemary get to France, he thinks she's painting in Paris. Even her best friend, Jada, doesn't know the whole truth. Rosemary struggles to keep track of all her lies, and things start to unravel when she meets a cute American boy in Nice for the summer - and the creepy neighbors who are up to no good. How far will Rosemary go to get what she wants, and what secrets reside within the recesses of her mind that triggered her mother's overprotective behavior?
From the intriguing opening sentence and luscious descriptions, the author sets the tone for an interesting and original read. The story is a bit repetitive, and I was disappointed with some (a lot!) of Rosemary's choices, but I was interested enough to keep reading to find out her true story. I'm glad I did. This is a powerful tale of being different and needing to escape to find one's true self. It's about bullying, acceptance, and ultimately love.

About the Author
Rebecca Bischoff currently resides in Idaho with her family and works as a speech-language pathologist. She loves helping others, especially kids and teenagers, discover their own unique voices and learn to share who they are with the world. When she isn’t writing, she loves to read, spend time with her kids, and make awkward attempts to learn foreign languages. She is drawn to all things both French and Italian, used bookstores, and anything made out of chocolate.

Enter the tour-wide giveaway for a chance to win a signed copy of The French Impressionist, a $50 Amazon gift card, and a box of macaroons.